Breaking bread family style!

There are eating experiences that literally make me feel like I am having an outer-body experience! The rustic country loaf from San Francisco’s Tartine is one of those. It is a huge loaf with a crust that is so crisp only the sharpest of bread knives will cut through it without smashing the pillow like crumb inside. The good news is that the soft, incredibly chewy crumb does bounce back due to the perfect development of the gluten (the protein strands that give bread it structure and chew). The flavor is naturally sweet, mildly sour, and fully yeasty with such a great chew. The crust is like no other bread I have had. It is super crunchy (like you could chip a tooth) yet incredible thin. The crust tastes like a dark roux with a toasty nuttiness and almost clay-like earthiness. My wife and I had a coffee and pastry at Tartine in the morning and placed our bread order. The bread is ready at 5:00 and gone by 5:30 every day. My son and I drove across town in the pouring rain to fetch our pre-paid loaves from heaven! You know it’s good when the bag of fresh made bread warms your lap. My son couldn’t wait until we got home to eat it. He tore off a chunk and said, “wow dad, it is so crispy and flavorful, it melts in your mouth”. When is the last time you heard a kid get that excited about bread? I love it! The bread is so moist that when I put it in the grill press to make pan y tomate (bread grilled or toasted and rubbed with super ripe tomato pulp and olive oil) it took 5x longer for the bread to get crisp.

We decided to make the bread the centerpiece of our Tuesday night meal. We stopped at Bi Rite next door to Tartine and got some fresh whole sardines, prosciutto, cheese, olives and greens. I sautéed the sardines in chile flakes, herbs de Provence and olive oil. Their rich bodies gave off so much tasty juice it formed a sauce. Sometimes the best meal is the one you barely cook. It was about the best ingredients mixed and matched as each person liked. The excitement over the bread turned into a great family evening that was about so much more than the food. Getting everyone around the table every night is the key to great family. Having great food at the table makes it truly unforgettable. Cheers! Enjoy your next meal with a star ingredient!

Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy!